NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is aiming to achieve 100 per cent electrification of its network by 2021-22. With its Mega Electrification Plan 2021, the Railways is aiming to hit two big targets - a) to reduce the diesel prices, b) to enhance the speed of the trains.
When the electrification of the network is complete, the average speeds of trains is expected to increase by 10-15 per cent. It will also run freight trains in dedicated freight corridors on electricity.
As per sources, the Railways will be able to reduce the diesel charges to Rs 1000 crore by full electrification of its network. As of now, Railways incurs an annual expenditure of Rs 17,000 crore on diesel for the trains. If the plan works as estimated, the Railways will be able to save Rs 16,000 crore annually on the fuel cost.
However, the power bill of the Railways will see a slight increase due to its mega plan. The bill that currently stands at approximately Rs 9,000 crore is likely to be increased to Rs 13,000 crore.
The Railways is in talks with states to reduce this expected rise in the electrification energy bill. The Railways has reached out to states for permission to procure power through open access route.
It may be noted that the Electricity Act 2003 conferred Deemed Licensee status on Railways due to its involvement in generation, transmission and distribution of energy from the time electricity came to India. Accordingly, it had been working to get this provision of Electricity Act operational. However, it didn't come through for quite some time due to various factors.
Railways sources power through Open Access route in several including Maharashtra, Gujarat, MP, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Haryana and Karnataka.
Railways is also planning to convert all diesel locomotives among its 5,500 fleet which have run for 18 years (mid life) into electrical locomotives. The 1,000 diesel locomotives that will be delivered by General Electric (GE) will be used for "disaster management and strategic needs."
"Converting them would cost us Rs 2 crore per engine, while their mid-term rehabilitation after 18 years is around Rs 5 crore. These converted locos will have 5,000 horsepower. These are completely 'Make in India' and a matter of great pride," Ghanshyam Singh, Member (Traction) Railway Board said.
While two such locos have already been converted at the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), a production unit of the Indian Railways in Varanasi, two more are in the process of being converted, he said. This year, around 100 locos are expected to reach the 18-year mark.
A team consisting of engineers from Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW), DLW and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) worked on the project together.